The festive season can be one of the most wonderful but also one of the busiest times of the year, making it difficult to make green choices. For that very reason, we have put together some simple tips for a greener Christmas.
- A timer is for more than cooking the turkey
Christmas lights are integral to the festive season. However, they use up vast amounts of electricity. A simple way to reduce your energy consumption over the festive period is to use a timer to automatically turn off your lights when no one is enjoying them. If you buy new lights, buy LED lights, which use far less energy and give you the same twinkly effect.
Batteries are a ubiquitous part of Christmas Day, so why not invest in rechargeable batteries and a charger. Then you will never be short of a battery when the previous one runs out. If you have dead batteries, make sure to recycle them appropriately.
- A water bottle isn’t just for Christmas
“If all the world’s discarded plastic were cling film, it would be more than enough to wrap the whole planet.” Mike Berners-Lee
Plastic bottles are a significant part of that discarded plastic. So let’s plan for a 2022 free of single-use plastic bottles and give a reusable water bottle this Christmas. There are so many new, wonderful styles, and types of water bottles out there, ‘one for everyone in the audience!’ Why not go a step further and buy one made from recycled plastic and achieve double green points!
Much of the carbon footprint of your cup of tea or coffee is not in importing the tea but in the energy it takes to boil the kettle! Only boil the water for the cuppa you’re making and save the CO2 emissions. The kettle will boil faster and you’ll have more time to wrap presents!
- Life is too short for Brussels sprouts
For most of us food is the biggest part of Christmas. Unfortunately, much of this food is thrown away uneaten. Of the infamous Brussels sprout, an estimated 17.2million of the green brassica will go uneaten this Christmas, enough to power a home for three years. Life is too short to cook the food you don’t like, so don’t waste your money, time and space in your stomach eating them leading to food waste. Don’t buy what you won’t eat. If you cannot bear another turkey sandwich, make a curry or soup and freeze it for the new year.
One third of all food bought globally is wasted and this amount increases over the Christmas season.
Packaging waste is also a massive problem around the festive season, so make sure to look for recyclable packaging, loose products, take your shopping bag with you and recycle at home.
Recycling a single glass jar saves enough energy to power an IPad for 15 days, and recycling an aluminium can saves enough energy to run your Christmas tree lights for 2 hours.
- No need for a designated driver this Christmas
If you’re driving home for Christmas, sitting in traffic jams can really put a damper on the festive activities and a congested journey triples the emissions. Why not take that stress away and take public transport, cycle or even wrap up warm and walk.
This can be a great way to reduce your emissions from transport – one of your most polluting activities – and allow you to relax into the holiday season.
- ‘Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas Tree’ – real or fake?
One big question for those looking to be greener this Christmas is artificial vs real Christmas tree. The simple answer is the more alive the better.
“A 6.5ft artificial tree has a carbon footprint equivalent to about 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions – which is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill and more than 10 times that of a real tree which is burnt.” (The Guardian, 2018).
If you buy a real cut Christmas tree that is locally grown and dispose of it correctly, the emissions produced can be negligible especially as a new tree will be planted in its place. If you buy a potted Christmas tree that can be replanted at the end of the season it can result in negative emissions. So buy the real deal, and enjoy the smell of fresh pine in your home.
- Only Santa needs to go round the world
Shopping for Christmas can be hectic and you can be tempted to buy stuff you don’t really need. This year why not take a minute to breathe and instead of buying fresh blueberries from Peru and gifts that were made in Vietnam, support your community and buy local from small businesses.
Buying food from the local farmer at a farm shop or market reduces the air miles of the food and can mean less packaging. Buying gifts from local businesses supports the local economy and community.
Only Santa needs to go round the world on his sleigh, not our blueberries.
- Give a gift that gives to many rather than just one
Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family. For many, however, this is not possible for a variety of reasons. Why not give a gift that will help someone else in your community or the world. Many charities like Concern or Oxfam have gifts that can provide someone with not just a better Christmas but a better life.
Many of us don’t need any more stuff so spending the money on providing a better life for someone else can be far more rewarding.
- Go Green in 2022!
The end of the year is a time of reflection and looking forward to the new year and the future. Take the time to reflect on your business’s green commitments and how you can do better in the year ahead.
If you don’t know where to start on your green resolutions, sign up for our webinar in January to kickstart building a greener business.